One fine morning the Lord spoke to His prophet Samuel. “Go to Bethlehem,” He said. “Find a man named Jesse who lives there. I have chosen one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king. Fill your container with olive oil, and go.”
Samuel filled a container with olive oil just as the Lord had told him to. When Samuel reached Bethlehem and found out which one of Jesse’s sons was chosen to be the next king, he would pour some of the oil on him.
When he arrived in Bethlehem, Samuel soon found Jesse. Then he got ready to make a sacrifice to the Lord. He invited the town leaders to come to the sacrifice, and he invited Jesse and his sons, too.
Jesse called seven of his sons to go with him. Samuel looked at the boys and smiled. The oldest of Jesse’s sons, Eliab, was tall and handsome. This is surely the man the Lord has chosen to be the next king, Samuel thought to himself.
But the Lord spoke to Samuel. “Don’t look at how tall and handsome that man is,” He said. “I have not chosen him to be the king.” Then the Lord told Samuel something very important. “God does not see the same way people do. People see only the outside of a person. But the Lord looks at people’s hearts.”
Jesse introduced another of his sons to Samuel. Samuel looked at him. “The Lord has not chosen this man either,” he said.
Jesse introduced a third son to Samuel. Samuel looked at him and shook his head. Each one of Jesse’s seven sons was presented to Samuel. Samuel was puzzled. “The Lord has not chosen any of these men,” he said, then he turned to Jesse. “Are these all your sons?” he asked.
“Well,” Jesse said, “I do have one more. David, my youngest son, is in the field caring for the sheep.” In those days shepherd boys were not important people.
“Send for him,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down until he gets here.”
David soon arrived. David loved the Lord and the Lord loved him, even though he was the youngest son, and just a plain shepherd boy.
“That’s the one,” the Lord told Samuel. “Anoint him. He is the one who will be king.”
So Samuel took out his container of olive oil and poured some oil on David’s head. And the Lord’s Spirit blessed David and gave him power to do the important work that God had planned for him. God does not look at just the strongest, tallest, or the oldest; everyone is important to God. Even a shepherd boy.